Hello all! I don’t know if you all recall that I reviewed “The Jane Austen Society” by Natalie Jenner last year, and now… a Cover reveal! Like last year I was contacted by Laurel Nattress, who invited me to be part of this cover reveal, since I had been part of the project from last year.
So are you ready?
“One bookshop. Fifty-one rules. Three women who break them all.”
The Internationally Bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society returns with a compelling and heartwarming story of post-war London, a century-old bookstore, and three women determined to find their way in a fast-changing world.
Bloomsbury Books is an old-fashioned new and rare bookstore that has persisted and resisted change for a hundred years, run by men and guided by the general manager’s unbreakable fifty-one rules. But in 1950, the world is changing, especially the world of books and publishing, and at Bloomsbury Books, the girls in the shop have plans:
Vivien Lowry: Single since her aristocratic fiancé was killed in action during World War II, the brilliant and stylish Vivien has a long list of grievances – most of them well justified and the biggest of which is Alec McDonough, the Head of Fiction.
Grace Perkins: Married with two sons, she’s been working to support the family following her husband’s breakdown in the aftermath of the war. Torn between duty to her family and dreams of her own.
Evie Stone: In the first class of female students from Cambridge permitted to earn a degree, Evie was denied an academic position in favor of her less accomplished male rival. Now she’s working at Bloomsbury Books while she plans to remake her own future.
As they interact with various literary figures of the time – Daphne Du Maurier, Ellen Doubleday, Sonia Blair (widow of George Orwell), Samuel Beckett, Peggy Guggenheim, and others – these three women with their complex web of relationships, goals and dreams are all working to plot out a future that is richer and more rewarding than anything society will allow.
So now on to the Reveal of the cover! Ready? Are you sure? Okay, here it comes! The new cover of the book by Natalie Jenner…
Last year in June, I read and reviewed “The Jane Austen Society” by Natalie Jenner, and I am so proud to be part of the next project from this talented writer. But as a reminder, I am giving you access to my then review of her first book.
Natalie Jenner is the author of two books, the instant international bestseller THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY and BLOOMSBURY GIRLS. A Goodreads Choice Award finalist for best debut novel and historical fiction, THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY was a USA Today and #1 national bestseller and has been sold for translation in twenty countries. Born in England and raised in Canada, Natalie has been a corporate lawyer, a career coach and, most recently, an independent bookstore owner in Oakville, Ontario, where she lives with her family and two rescue dogs.
Thank you for reading this as part of the Cover Reveal of Natalie Jenner’s new project. I will be back once I have read this wonderful book. So keep watching this blog for more information. Until then, from the desk of Interests of a Jane Austen Girl, I bid you adieu.
Welcome back to the desk of Interests of a Jane Austen Girl! Wow the summer certainly passed by quickly, I don’t feel like I have made it to summer yet, yikes! But I am pleased to welcome back an author, who have before graced this desk, welcome back Brigid with her new novella, “Spies of our Acquaintance” and it was a pageturner!
French spies in Meryton!
Can the beloved characters of Pride and Prejudice “keep calm and carry on”
when Napoleon’s war comes to their neighborhood?
After Mr Darcy apologizes for insulting her at the Meryton Assembly, Elizabeth Bennet begins to see another side to the gentleman she has sworn to hate forever. As their acquaintance grows into friendship, Elizabeth finds herself intrigued by this man from Derbyshire.
Darcy, meanwhile, cannot stop thinking about Miss Elizabeth. After the nefarious Wickham appears in Meryton, Darcy resolves to warn her of the man’s previous offenses. Matters become more urgent when Wickham proves to be involved in espionage for the French!
When Darcy and Elizabeth are captured by a French spy, they must work together
to find a means of escape. With reputations and hearts at risk,
what consequences will result from their perilous adventure?
A normal day in Meryton for the Bennet sisters, turn into quite a weird one for witty and clever Elizabeth. Not only was I totally pleased with the way the plot turned, as Darcy apologised for his insult at the assembly, but he also gave her an idea of the character of a certain “gentleman” and from their feelings start to bloom.But also because they are slowly growing a friendship, which I delighted in reading!
But when Elizabeth observes Wickham and Mr Denny argue outside the milliners in Meryton, she decides to get proof of the character of Wickham, – and from there the wild chase starts. Since the story takes place during the Napoleonic wars, it was common knowledge that both governments had spies planted to get information about their respective military movements. This is quite crucial in this plot, and let’s just say I couldn’t put the book down, since the pace was fast and the plot was good and Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s feelings have quite a growing pace! Loved the story, all the way through! Finished the book in just two days, and that was because I was pacing myself 🤣
The novella, Spies of Our Acquaintance, may be purchased on Amazon US and Amazon UK. It is available as an eBook, a Paperback, and through Kindle Unlimited. The audiobook, narrated by Stevie Zimmerman, should be released in six to eight weeks.
And FINALLY! There’s a giveaway option! Yay! I can only recommend this story! As all of Brigid’s books, this one is very good!
Meryton Press will give away one eBook for your readers. The giveaway is international.
Remember to leave your emails so we can contact you, once the winner is announced.
Søndag d. 15 august var det dagen som De Danske Empire Dansere har trænet til i løbet af de sidste par måneder. Det var nemlig Jane Austen dag på Liselund, som ligger på øst Møn!
Så tasken var pakket med alle mine Regency ting, alt fra chemise, stays, kjole, til hår ting og smykker. Jeg var tidligt oppe for at nå bussen til Møn, og snart efter mødte jeg en gammel ven af min familie, som jeg ikke har set i omkring 20 år!
Turen til Møn var hyggelig med snak og sladder mellem os dansere og bestyrelsen hos Jane Austen Selskabet. Så snart vi ankom, var det hurtigt skift til Regency kjoler, sætte hår og smykker da gæsterne allerede var ved at ankomme. Nerverne begyndte at køre rundt i kroppen men vi kunne vores dansetrin, men turpo øvede lige en gang mere – hvilket gav noget ro i kroppen.
Derefter gik turen ud i parken, solen skinnede også selvom der var en del skyer, så alle krydsede fingre for godt vejr indtil senere på dagen. Det holdte!! Gæsterne begyndte på deres ture rundt i parken, og jeg nåede lige at finde min egen familie inden vi gik på “dansegulvet” for første gang den formiddag. Nerverne kørte på højtryk, indtil vi kom i gang med den første dans og man huskede hvad vi havde trænet så ihærdigt for de sidste mange uger. Vi havde virkelig en fest, da vi dansede og grinede meget!
Derefter var det nærmest en leg, vi grinede og snakkede imens vi dansede, og prøvede ikke at falde over hinandens kjoler og fødder når vi dansede for tæt, hehe. Anne-Marie fortalte om dansene som vi kom igennem dem, og nogen af os kunne rulle lidt med øjnene over Mr Darcys kommentar “Every savage can dance.” Da vi dansede The Savage Dance, som egentlig ikke har noget savage over sig, men egentlig er meget statelig.
Derefter var det frokost, og en smule afslapning inden vi skulle på igen. Jeg nød den sammen med min familie, som havde picnic kurv med, med frikadeller og kartoffelsalat.
Dagen viste sig at være skøn, underholdende og meget hyggelig med både nye venner, familie og gamle bekendte. Vi blev vist rundt på Liselund slot, og der er ganske meget historie forbundet til slottet og familien som har boet der. Der var mange gode og meget interessante historier, alt fra jordskælv som bliver varslet af en abe til den grå dame.
Sunday the 15th of august, it was the day which The Danish Empire Dancers had trained for for several months. It was the Jane Austen Day at Liselund, which is on Møn.
So my bag was packed with all of my Regency things, everything from chemise, stays, dress, hair thing and jewels. I was up early to catch the bus to Møn, and soon I was face to face with an old friend of my family, one who I haven’t seen in near on 20 years. The trip to Møn was very cosy, with talk and gossip among the dancers and the board of The Jane Austen Selskabet.
Soon we arrived and it was a quick change into our finery of regency dress, put up hair and jewels was put on, since the guests for the Day at the Liselund already were arriving. The nerves started running around the body, while we quickly practiced our dance steps one more time, which thankfully gave some calm.
After that it was out into the park, the sun shinned, even if there were some skies, so everyone was crossing their fingers for the weather staying fine for the day. And it did keep! The guests were starting to walk around in the park, in their designated tours – even I found my own family, before we took to the “dancefloor” for the first time that afternoon.
The nerves really took over once we were called together for dancing the first dance, “Mr. Beveridges Maggot” and I for one remembered why we had trained so hard for once we got dancing. We really did have a party, once we danced and laughed quite a bit.
After around 30 minutes and 5 dances, it was a ball, we laughed and talked while we danced, and tried not to fall over each others feet and hems once we danced to closely, hehe.
Anne-Marie told about the dances as we came through them, and some of us couldn’t help but roll our eyes at the “Every savage can dance” comment which famously was said by Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, the funny part was that we actually did dance the Savage Dance, which has absolutely nothing “savage” about it, it is actually quite stately. Lunch followed with my own family, and some relaxing before we had to dance again. I enjoyed the pause, walked a bit, and conversed with both my family and my follow dancers.
The day ended up being entertaining, cosy, brilliant and good fun, with new friends, family and old aquaintances. We were shown around Liselund Castle, and there was quite a bit of history connected to it, and the family who owned it. There was many good and very interesting stories, everything from earthquakes which was predicted by a monkey to the Grey Lady.
I can’t wait to do it again! Dress up and dance again!
I want to welcome an author who I have long followed, read more or less everything from for the last several years. Welcome to P.O. Dixon to the desk of Interests of a Jane Austen Girl.
Miss Elizabeth Bennet is suffering something akin to regret having refused Mr. Darcy’s proposal because of his interference in Jane’s relationship with Mr. Bingley. Indeed, her sister has a new love interest—the charming Mr. Hemmingsworth. Moreover, Mr. Hemmingsworth has a brother—an identical twin. Will a second chance at love for Jane lead to a second chance at love for Elizabeth too?
As Elizabeth is speculating on the insulting proposal Mr Darcy made, we all know how many feelings are being worked on and how many ways her mind are turning his words.
But Pam Dixon surprised and delighted me with yet another delightful twisty plot, new characters who I completely fell in love with, laughed at and giggled with. Jane Bennet was heavily involved in this plot, and was I just delighted? Oh yes! She finally stood up for herself and made sure that everyone knew where her heart was.
I will admit to some angst during the read, which most of the time made me want to drop my head onto my table in resignation, but no Pam turned it quickly around, and I can only say, “THANK GOD!”
Darcy and Elizabeth obviously burn for each other, throughout this story, in one way or another, but it is quickly surmised where we are heading as I read. It could only end one way…
Bestselling historical fiction author, P. O. Dixon, is a great admirer of Historical England and its fascinating days of yore. She, in particular, loves the Regency period with its strict mores and oh so proper decorum. Her ardent appreciation of Jane Austen’s timeless works set her on the writer’s journey. Visit podixon.com and find out more about Dixon’s writings.
I am happy to welcome back a much-beloved authoress Joana Starnes with her new book, “Twists of fate.” her book made me both chuckle, scream and I nearly strangled Joana a few times.
As the book opens, Collins is making his proposals to Elizabeth, which turns sour and sends Elizabeth towards her aunt’s house in Meryton. Soon scandal rolls through Meryton, and Collins is evicted from Longbourn by a furious Mr Bennet, much to my delight and cheer, I applauded loudly. So Elizabeth and Darcy are forced to wed, and of course, the drama follows them to Pemberley. As happiness is finally reached, I was ready to read the words, “The end.” but the end was still to come.
I have to admit to wanting to strangle Joana at a particular point, or three hehe and also screamed at my kindle, quite a few times. The book had all the hallmarks of a Joana Starnes book; drama, screaming, torture for both Darcy and Elizabeth – but also the heartwarming talent of feeling like you are with friends inside the book. The way Joana writes her characters has always been so very talented since she brings them to life. Joana also has the talent of making at least I want to scream or laugh with the characters throughout the plot.
But by the end, I was more than pleased with the HEA, and I can only say congratulations to Joana on a brilliant book.
Joana Starnes lives in the south of England with her family.
A medical graduate, over the years she has developed an unrelated but enduring fascination with Georgian Britain in general and the works of Jane Austen in particular, as well as with the remarkable and flamboyant set of people who have given the Regency period its brilliance and glory.
For years, Joana has sought glimpses of Regency Britain in country houses, letters, diaries and old books – and has found tantalising snippets from a world Jane Austen and her characters would have recognised, with titbits of delicious gossip, long-held traditions, hints of fashion, echoes of events that would change history, as well as glances into the lost world of the English country house, in all its self-sufficient splendour.
All this, Joana would like to share with her readers, in the hope that they would enjoy the journey back in time in search of Pemberley just as much as she does.
Hello all! I am proud to welcome Leslie Diamond to the desk of Interests of a Jane Austen Girl, I was so very privileged to be gifted a copy of her lastest book, “Agony and Hope” it took me a little to get started on the book, but once I was in it, it went quickly through the plot, and my oh my did I get the shock of my life with one line, “Elizabeth Bennet is dead.” I think my jaw and heart dropped with that one line! Without further ado, I will go straight to my review before any of you die of annoyance.
“I have endured the deepest agony, only to be shown a hope so bright I cannot but yearn for it.”
Fitzwilliam Darcy is mourning the love he lost—a love that was never allowed to bloom. What will become of him when Georgiana is wed, and he is left by himself? He cannot give away a heart not his own. Must he remain in this mournful existence, anticipating the nights to come, where in his dreams, he can finally be with Elizabeth, a spectre of his once living, breathing beloved. When a surprise visitor brings unexpected news, his hope is breathed back to life. Will he finally obtain his deepest desires? Will Fitzwilliam Darcy be able to leave behind the agony of the past and hope for the future he once thought impossible?
Due to circumstances beyond her control, Elizabeth Bennet’s family is irrevocably altered. Her father is dead, Lydia is missing, and her mother and remaining sisters are to be relegated to a life of poverty. Fitzwilliam Darcy’s behaviour at Pemberley indicates he still loves her, but too much has happened. She can never hope for him to once again make the offer of his hand. Elizabeth’s sole option is to abandon the life she once led and start anew. But what happens when her path once again crosses with the love she thought lost to her? Will Elizabeth choose to protect him with the one option available to her or will she put aside the agony of the past and choose hope?
Another new book lay ready on my desk, and my oh my was I shocked beyond comprehension with just one line, “Elizabeth Bennet is dead.” I think my jaw dropped right there and then! But thinking of how Leslie writes in her earlier works, something more had to lay beneath this shocking statement! Poor Darcy and his broken heart! But not long after, a thin and ragged Jane Bennet turns up at Darcy House. Jane reveals that Elizabeth is sick and therefore alive!! I nearly screamed out loud in delight!
I was nearly sick while reading at where the two eldest Bennet girls had lived in St. Giles, which at this time in the Regency is one of the worst neighbourhoods in London! And the image of Elizabeth being ill, thin and ragged nearly broke my and Darcy’s heart at that point! Many heartbreaking scenes went past, where I was nearly in tears.
Leslie’s way of writing Darcy, Georgiana, Jane and Elizabeth were heartfelt, so well written, they became real, and it felt like I was in the rooms, gardens and estates along with them. The heartfelt scenes between Darcy and Elizabeth were SO sweet and romantic, and the more mature Georgiana was a pleasure to get to know. I was though a little surprised at the Persuasion reference, “I never considered you had loved longer and when all hope had been lost. If I had allowed myself to truly acknowledge your pain, I never would have survived. I would have had no will to go on.” see what I mean? That is Persuasion through and through!
One other point I HAVE to comment on is the proposal, gosh it was beautiful, and there is no hint of the toe-curling proposal from Darcy, but just sweetness and happiness, since both Elizabeth and Darcy is so ready to belong to each other at this point! I had to use my handkerchief during that scene. It was perfect!
But soon after, the trio travels to Derbyshire, to a small estate called Drayton, and the emotional stress at this point was nearly unbearable! I was so hopeful for a HEA, and yet there was a bit left of the book. But if I am to wager, I will guess that Leslie will give us a most satisfying HEA for the ending – and I was right. I am already looking forward to her next book.
Remember to leave your emails so I can reach you if you win so Leslie can send you the audiobook code for either US/UK
L. L. Diamond is more commonly known as Leslie to her friends, and Mom to her three kids. A native of Louisiana, she has spent the majority of her life living within an hour of New Orleans until she vowed to follow her husband to the ends of the earth as a military wife. Louisiana, Mississippi, California, Texas, New Mexico, Nebraska, England, and now Missouri have all been called home along the way.
Aside from mother and writer, Leslie considers herself a perpetual student. She has degrees in biology and studio art, but will devour any subject of interest simply for the knowledge. As an artist, her concentration is in graphic design, but watercolor is her medium of choice with one of her watercolors featured on the cover of her second book, A Matter of Chance. She also plays flute and piano, but much like Elizabeth Bennet, she is always in need of practice!
Welcome back to the desk of Interests of a Jane Austen Girl, today on my table is the new P&P variation, “Mistress of Netherfield” it’s written by Julia Winther and I’m quite happy with this new book and variation, many good plot devices, more fleshed out characters and turns and twists to keep us readers on our toes until the last page.
Come with me through the review, author bio, blurb and giveaway of this new and wonderful book.
About The Book
It is a truth universally acknowledged that on escaping an unhappy marriage, a young widow will be delighted to remove to the dower house and lease the marital abode to a single man in possession of a good fortune, provided he looks elsewhere to fulfil his want of a wife.
Five years after being forced into an unwanted marriage at the age of sixteen, and freed six months later by the death of her abusive husband, Elizabeth Grayson (née Bennet) has finally found a measure of peace. The inheritor of her husband’s estate, Netherfield Park, Elizabeth is now a wealthy young widow, independent and self-reliant. With an eye always on improving her four sisters’ woefully small dowries and providing for her mother, who will be homeless when her father dies, Elizabeth is pleased to lease out Netherfield to the Bingley family, making her home in the dower house in Meryton and vowing that she will never remarry.
Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley in Derbyshire is rich and well connected, but reserved in company with anybody outside the very few he counts as friends. Towards those friends, he is loyal and steadfast, the staunchest of supporters. So when a young man comes to him with a tale of the clandestine marriage and mysterious death of Darcy’s old schoolfriend, James Grayson, and begs Darcy’s help to investigate the widow’s role, Darcy agrees. Visiting Charles Bingley, the new tenant of Netherfield, Darcy is very soon torn between his loyalty to his dead friend, and his burgeoning attraction to the widow.
Throw two unprincipled rogues and an elopement into the confines of Meryton, and how will Darcy’s dilemma over Elizabeth ever be resolved? And is she willing to put aside her misgivings, and trust again?
At Longbourn, just before Elizabeth meets Wickham at the Phillipses’ house:
Mr Collins came immediately to join Elizabeth and Mary, plumping himself down in the nearest chair and dragging it closer while still seated in it, to the great detriment of the polished floorboards.
“My dear cousins, I cannot tell you with what anticipation I view this evening’s engagement. What could be more congenial, than an evening spent with family and friends? It is precisely the sort of harmless entertainment, you know, that Lady Catherine must approve.”
“My aunt will be pleased to know it, sir.” Elizabeth noted Mr Collins’s examining her and returned his gaze with a direct one of her own.
He frowned. “Cousin Elizabeth, your respected mother told me that you are, in fact, a widow?”
“I am, sir.”
His frown deepened. “You do not look like one.”
“Indeed? And is there some particular characteristic of widowhood in which I am deficient?”
He opened and closed his mouth more than once with all the elegance of one of her father’s carp in the fishpond. “You do not dress as one, cousin. That is what I mean.”
“I am sure my mother told you that my husband is more than four years dead. Did you expect me to be in bombazine and crepe? I put off my mourning over two years ago.”
He made an odd “haaa-ing” sound and ducked his head, grimacing. “I meant only that you dress as would any young girl—as cousin Mary here does. There is little distinction…”
Mary glanced up from her book to observe that “Lizzy has better taste in dress than I. And prettier dresses.”
“I am barely one and twenty, Mr Collins, so do not dress in the more matronly styles and colours chosen by, say, my mother. Is my gown inappropriate?”
He gestured dumbly to his head, and it was not until she quirked an eyebrow at him that he squeaked out an outraged, “You wear no cap!”
“I do not.” Elizabeth caught Mary’s fleeting glance and they exchanged faint smiles. Mary’s views on Elizabeth’s heresy when it came to societal expectations of married women’s dress were well understood between them.
“But my dear cousin… the impropriety… good heavens, you cannot understand… so unconventional behaviour… my fear is that a gentleman may be misled about your status—”
“That does not concern me, Mr Collins.”
“But that is the effect of… of…” He prescribed a circle about his own head with one hand to explain his discomposure. He huffed out another of those odd “haaa-ing” sounds, that she realised was intended as an indulgent chuckle. “You are greatly charming, and so obviously an innocent when it comes to a man’s thoughts and intentions… The expectations of society are there for your protection, my dear, dear cousin. You must see that this is so!”
Elizabeth, who was so far from innocence as to a man’s intentions and deeds that Mr Collins’s inane words cut to the bone, allowed her tone to freeze like the breath of a winter wind. “How I dress is for me to decide. One’s intentions, deeds and morality are not determined by whether or not one wears a lace cap. And in truth, this is a rather improper discussion.”
“I am a clergyman, dear Elizabeth—”
“Sir, we are only just met. Please do not use my given name with such freedom.”
He deflated a trifle, even his pomposity pricked by her coldness. “It is my duty to speak out about those derelictions when I see them, and I flatter myself I do it with delicacy! I merely point out, cousin, that it is more seemly to follow society’s dictates on this matter. It is for the protection of innocence and modesty, and to show her respectability and decorum, that a married woman covers her hair.”
This assertion had Mary nodding agreement.
“I am sure, my dear cousin, that Lady Catherine would agree with me—”
Elizabeth smiled. “And I am sure that the great lady you have described so minutely would never be so rag-mannered as to offer her opinion on a matter that is so clearly none of her concern.”
Mr Collins gaped at her, one of her father’s carp caught in the fisherman’s landing net gulping in the unfamiliar air.
Elizabeth softened her tone. The noddy was not worth her ire and she would pay him the compliment that he was in earnest; an innocent who saw matters in simplistic terms, rather than a man attempting some ridiculous exercise of an authority he did not possess. “Come, we shall not quarrel. I assure you I followed every convention when I was first widowed with regard to the wearing of mourning and the curtailment of my participation in society. We may agree my lack of a widow’s cap now, some four years later, is… unconventional, as you termed it. I intend no deception regarding my status when it comes to gentlemen, and it is purely a personal preference that is a matter for me to decide, is it not?”
He drew his hand over his brow, with another of those odd, rather high-pitched “Haa!”s that this time clearly denoted a discomforted attempt to laugh. “You are perfectly charming, my dear cousin…”
“Well, we are agreed then, and shall be friends henceforth. Oh here is Mama, and the girls at last. John Coachman is waiting at the door, I believe, Mama. We should leave, or we will be late.” Elizabeth cast her gaze over her two sisters. Lydia’s decolletage was a little too daring for an evening at their aunt’s—or anywhere, really—and she and Kitty had evidently spent hours curling their hair and pinching their cheeks hard to make them rosy. “Armed for battle, I see, Lyddie.”
Lydia did not even pretend not to understand her. She pulled Elizabeth up and towards the door. “Officers, Lizzy! The officers will be there! Come, you laggard, I do not wish to be late.” Her blue eyes met Elizabeth’s, wide and bright with life and laughter. “After all, I have a campaign to win!”
After a horrible marriage of scandal, young Elizabeth Grayson are determined not to marry again, and live quietly at her dowager house, Nether House in Meryton. Enter the Bingley’s and Darcy, in the company of one young man undercover, to discover how his brother died. Was the death an accident? Murder? Or something else? Read and find out!
I was quite surprised at Elizabeth’s personality in this story, but taking into account how young she was when she was forced to marry, I certainly understood and pitied her to an extent. Though I was also very happy to see Charlotte as a more dominant character in this story for a time.
As I read and starting learning the different characters stories and personalities, I couldn’t get over Darcy and his innate sense of pride, I wanted to hit the back of his head SO many times, hehe sorry not funny but omg the man is an utter idiot, though later an adorable idiot 😉🥰 And the young man undercover, just plain horrible, annoying and very much in need of a good kick up his arrogant ***!
But how Julia hit Elizabeth’s sense of humour! Omg just brilliant, several times when Miss Bingley and Lizzie is fencing with words, you almost feel bad for Miss Bingley because she has absolutely no idea of who she is up against! Laughed so much at those scenes! They were spot on! Quite a surprise was the Hurst couple and their role in this lovely read! They were a lot more fleshed out than any other author have done in quite a while! So likeable!
Wickham is as always a horrible person and you want to kick him up his *** and throw him out the window and then some! But this time around he not only pisses off Darcy but also a wealthier and more knowledgeable Elizabeth- and I can almost promise he will get what is coming to him! Thank god for rubbish aka Wickham! So Julia hit just the right note with him as well!
Now is the question if Elizabeth and Darcy will end up together or not… ?? Oh, I will not reveal that, but I’m hopeful that you will discover that for yourself when you read the book.
Between 21 June and 3 July, enter this Rafflecoptor for the chance of a first prize of a copy of Mr Darcy’s Hunsford letter (complete with seal, and tied in red ribbon) and a copy of the eBook, or one of two second prizes of an ecopy of Mistress of Netherfield.
Once Julia was a communications specialist with several UK government departments. These days she’s thankfully free of all that, and writing full time. She lives in the depths of the Nottinghamshire countryside with her husband and the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockapoo, who’s supported by Mavis the Assistant Editor, a Yorkie-Bichon cross with a bark several times bigger than she is but with no opinion whatsoever on the placement of semi-colons.
Hello all, wow it suddenly become summer here in Denmark! Well I will jump straight to my desk and the latest book I have read, namely “There you were” by Michelle Ray, a P&P variation.
“I was not looking for love, but there you were. I cannot stop it, I cannot indulge it, so I must put distance between us and hope that time will heal this fever I have.”
Abandoned by her mother and ignored by her father, it is hardly any wonder young Elizabeth Bennet’s curiosity soon brings about trouble and marriage to a man she does not love. Colonel Fitzwilliam’s family—save for his cousin Mr Darcy—despises her, and life is not what she dreamed of. As she matures and grows from an impetuous girl into a woman, Elizabeth’s most reliable source of friendship and comfort becomes Mr Darcy. When tragedy strikes leaving her a widow, she is free to find out [discover?] who has been in her heart all along.
Darcy has always been intrigued by the girl his beloved cousin married, and finds himself drawn into helping her after her husband’s death. Over time, admiration turns to love. Admitting his feelings to her – or even himself – could lead to ruin, but denying his passion could shatter him.
There You Were
Thanks for having me here at Interests of a Jane Austen Girl!
How did you come up with the plot for There You Were?
There You Were started as a non-Pride and Prejudice story. I began writing it almost 20 years ago, and funny enough, its origin was the Brad Pitt movie Legends of the Fall! I was fascinated by the mother (hardly seen) who left the family to move back to the east coast, and I wondered what impact that would have on a girl growing up in a society that expects the presence of a mother and certain behaviors from young women. When the awesome Quills & Quartos publishing team suggested that I adapt my story to be a P&P variation, we had to drop characters and alter relationships, but a surprising amount remained the same. These include the main character’s feelings of isolation, her desperation at being without resources, a young man who becomes a savior in many ways and an unexpected friend, and the conflicts that come with that relationship.
Mrs Bennet seems so distant towards Elizabeth, but not Jane. Why is that?
What strikes me in P&P is Mrs Bennet’s obsession with Jane’s beauty, and how she sees good looks as Jane’s ticket to a good marriage. In my story, I kept that point of view. I also exaggerated Elizabeth’s enthusiasm for the out-of-doors and her freer spirit. I added Mrs Bennet leaving when Elizabeth was still a baby—this would have diminished the mother-daughter connection, for blood does not guarantee closeness.
In JAFF most readers expect Uncle Gardiner to be involved in the lives of Elizabeth and Jane, but I get the feeling you’ve turned that trope on its head. Can you expound on that?
I’m new to JAFF (and loving it!), so I do not necessarily know what rules I am breaking. Originally that character was a brother, but that would not do for land inheritance issues and plot points. Having Uncle Gardiner be distant and disinterested when they were young also served my vision of an isolated protagonist a bit better. Elizabeth and Jane are not raised with tutors and travel, or even much knowledge of the rules of society. When Jane is invited to London, the opportunity enriches her life, leaving Elizabeth without the skills and knowledge her dear sister gains. In P&P, I have always loved how the Gardiners are kind and loving, and how they ultimately enrich Elizabeth’s life. Though the way they do so is different in my version, I hoped that Uncle Gardiner’s wife would play the maternal and encouraging role, a bit of a counterpoint to Mrs Bennet, that she does in the original.
Why didn’t the girls receive a “proper education?”
In P&P, it is made clear that there was no governess (much to Lady Catherine’s dismay) and that the Bennets employed no masters. When Lady Catherine says, “Without a governess, you must have been neglected,” Elizabeth replies, “Compared with some families, I believe we were; but such of us as wished to learn never wanted the means. We were always encouraged to read, and had all the masters that were necessary.” This gave me permission to follow my idea of girls who had been wholly neglected by their family in terms of their formal education. In my version, her father does not wish to spend the money or effort on his daughters, handing them off to Miss Taylor, a former school teacher and assuming that was sufficient. He despises assemblies and callers, thereby depriving his daughters of examples and experiences. I wanted Elizabeth to feel lost and out of sync with those of her class, and wondered how Darcy would react to this difference.
What is the root of the animosity of the Fitzwilliam family towards the Bennets?
I imagined the Fitzwilliams as snobbish, looking down on their “poor” neighbors at Longbourn, hardly able to hold onto their lands. I did not envision any particular event that caused a rift. Had the Bennets not had personal problems that were widely known, perhaps the Fitzwilliams would have had less disdain for the family.
We Janites always want the best for Elizabeth. If you don’t mind me saying, your Darcy is going to have to work hard to win her heart. What was your motivation behind his personality and behavior?
I adore Darcy and Elizabeth, and in P&P enjoyed the journey and the changes they made in themselves and how they viewed the other to come to a joyful conclusion. I see Darcy as a man who is deeply protective of those he loves. In There You Were, when he meets Elizabeth at 15, she is wild and loud, and comes from a family he sees as problematic for a variety of reasons. He would not want his favorite cousin, James (eventually promoted in rank so he becomes Colonel Fitzwilliam), entangled with the Bennets. As Elizabeth matures and changes, and he comes to know her for who she truly is, his opinion alters. The cold and critical Darcy that Elizabeth meets is far from the joyful, passionate partner she imagines desiring in her youth, but circumstances help him change and alters how she views him as well. When first we meet him in There You Were, he is in his early 20s. She notes how responsibilities weigh on him—he has a keen sense of duty and being orphaned thrust him into the role of running grand estates and caring for his young sister. Additionally, not everyone does well in social situations, and P&P makes it clear that assemblies and gatherings of strangers make him quite uncomfortable. All of that said, however, he does have to make some serious amends for the unkind things he says to her when first they meet.
Can you give us a hint as to how Elizabeth and Darcy will find their way to one another?
Time together can change opinions, and tragedy often brings people together.
Thank you, Michelle for answering my questions about your new book.
The story started out as if it’s written in the future about the past events. Though the start of the plot had me shocked! No Mrs Bennet, a Mr Bennet who has given up any pretence of having a care for his family and a Mr Gardiner who is less than proactive in his dealings with the Bennet family, quite a turn around for the normal troupe. I was feeling so bereft for Jane and Elizabeth and how they are left on their own to raise each other to be the ladies we readers love and admire had me shaking my head in both frustration and sorrow.
To be brutally honest I had a devil of time finding any characters to like, but slowly it happened but it took a while but James Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth soon had me both smiling and cursing a few times. In the beginning I was close to giving up on this book, and cursing the author for ruining my favourite Austen book, but I kept at it and was rewarded with a different kind of written variation than even I have ever read before. A new character had me quite easily smiling, namely a Miss Taylor, a teacher/tutor/friend to Elizabeth, absolutely loved her.
But as the plot and drama unfolds I knew that Darcy would have quite a time winning the heart of Elizabeth, – and I was right. A lot of drama, a LOT of feelings – be prepared to be taken along on a rollercoaster of emotions, most negative in the beginning but by the ending those remarkable feelings of falling in love, silently, nearly unnoticed but finally admitted. The ending had me quite satisfied. I hope others will enjoy this book, and maybe like some of the characters more than I did.
Michelle Ray is a middle school literature teacher who also directs plays, writes stories, and sees as many Broadway shows as she can. She grew up in Los Angeles and went to the awesome Westlake School for Girls where theater had the cachet of football and the girls were in charge of everything. She lives with her husband and daughters near Washington DC, and dreams of traveling anywhere and everywhere.
There you have it, dear readers. I will be back in just two weeks with yet another review for “Mistress of Netherfield”, a book I am looking forward to reading. So check back, and remember to leave a comment.
Hello all and welcome back to the desk of Interests of a Jane Austen Girl!
This time around I have read a P&P variation which was quite surprising, it was brilliant but quite different to other variations I have had in my hands before. I am looking forward to sharing my impressions with you all!
“After thinking long and hard, I have come to the conclusion that—although it may not be the kind of love my sister and I once had in mind—marrying Mr Darcy would be marrying for a love of the deepest kind.”
Recovering from their parents’ deaths, Elizabeth and Jane Bennet have held their family together, leaning on the support of their uncle, Edward Gardiner, to help them survive. Thus, when Mr Gardiner is threatened with scandal and ruin, Elizabeth vows to help him. Hearing of her distress, the scandalous Fitzwilliam Darcy enters her life—offering his aid in exchange for her hand. Accepting his proposal upends her life in unimaginable ways as she learns of the treachery of the peer courting her, the betrayal and violence committed by her childhood friend, and the threat to her country as it faces another war.
As Elizabeth and Darcy face the turmoil and trials swirling around them, they risk opening their hearts to unexpected passion. In order to survive challenges from without and fears within, they must summon unknown strengths and forge new bonds to solidify a love of the deepest kind.
For the deepest love, had the five Bennet girls orphaned and leading Longbourn as a whole operation for raising and breeding the best horses in England. The story follows mostly Lizzie in London, during the season. In London, she is courted, by a man, not Darcy, but I admit he made my skin crawl horribly!
During a ball scene, we are introduced to Darcy, finally!
I think my jaw dropped when I discovered the plot device of Darcy revealing the secret almost elopement of Georgiana’s!!!! I was So shocked! I couldn’t believe that Darcy would put his sister through such a trial of fire! Lizzie is in London, soon our beloved couple meet! Drama ensues, surprising enough!
So when the Gardiners is threatened with economic disaster, Elizabeth makes a decision that will change the lives of herself, her sisters and Longbourn for good. So with this decision, Darcy is allowed to step in to help the Gardiner family. Is there a better cause than to accept help than when it is for the deepest love? Namely for the family? I believe Elizabeth makes the best decision possible in her situation to avoid the ruin of her family.
But the drama doesn’t stop here, spies, drama, an old flame and lastly the war between England and France plays a part. I can tell you that it kept me at the edge of my seat and if I had had the time I would have read this in one sitting! I managed it in three. When the Bennet girls are back at Longbourn, ready to deliver a horse to Wellington, the most known General in the British Army. An attack is attempted on Wellington, but Elizabeth is hurt. Now goes the hunt.
During the book, we realise that a group of wealthy, well-positioned, or titled people in England is in a league to run and change the way Britain is. But love is the focus of the book and I loved it, and the drama was brilliant and kept you at the edge of your seat nearly until the last page.
A lifelong writer, Mary Anne Mushatt relocated to New Orleans last century, where she earned an MFA and created a documentary of oral histories in the African-American and Native American communities along Louisiana’s River Road. When the levees failed, exiling her family from their home, she discovered the community of Jane Austen acolytes and began writing novels placing the beloved characters of Pride & Prejudice in innovative situations. Taken is her second published novel. As a result of one of her earlier novels, she works with a multi-disciplinary team aiding victims of human trafficking become survivors.
Mary Anne lives in New Orleans with her husband, two sons, and two dogs.